Monolith Soft artist and developer Yasuyuki Honne, who was one of the many responsible for the first Xenoblade Chronicles, revealed on Twitter that he previously pitched an Earthbound sequel back in 2003 to late Nintendo president Satoru Iwata.
With that pitch came a craft-style concept art that fits with the game’s contemporary themes.
Looks cute, right? Because Honne was inspired by the recent news about a book collecting interviews with the late president, he posted on Twitter about the time he met Iwata and Earthbound director Shigesato Itoi in Namco (which owned Monolith Soft at the time due to the then-new Xenosaga titles). Honne was directing the GameCube exclusive Baten Kaitos at the time, which means that he was the go-to RPG guy. Coincidentally, Nintendo was toying around with the idea of an Earthbound sequel.
Honne said on Twitter that he created said craft-styled visuals and went to Aoyama, where the office was. He showed Iwata and Itoi the artwork, explaining that the simple graphics are meant to evoke a nostalgic and unique vibe befitting of the Earthbound games.
Of course, this all ended up being Iwata’s plan; he was playing matchmaker and set up this meeting without Itoi knowing he was going to get an Earthbound sequel pitch. After an awkward silence, the conversation regardless went on, though Itoi didn’t follow up with this plan. A pity an Earthbound game with this artstyle didn’t happen, but at least we did get a proper sequel on the Game Boy Advance.
Also, it took until 2010 for Nintendo to use this arts-and-craft artstyle for one of their games: Kirby’s Epic Yarn for the Wii. Game development is one big circle of coincidences and resurfaced ideas, eh?